The HOPWA Institute
Housing's Role in Ending the HIV Epidemic
In 2017, the Office of HIV/AIDS Housing hosted a training Institute for Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA) funded grantees and project sponsors to ensure that all local HOPWA programs had the same thorough understanding of the HOPWA program.
Topics included: formula modernization, financial management, monitoring, indirect costs, rental assistance, supportive services, and other topics.
HOPWA and Ryan White: Federal Panel on HIV and Health
This presentation demonstrated the clear connection between safe, decent affordable housing and positive health outcomes and highlighted available resources in communities to better leverage Federal health and housing program funding. Key leaders from HRSA's HIV/AIDS Bureau and the Office of HIV/AIDS Housing addressed the outlook of the U.S. Federal response to HIV/AIDS, with emphasis on trends and projections for HIV Housing. In addition to discussing program updates from the Federal level, specific topics included some shared grantee programs and best practices for coordinating HOPWA and Ryan White to improve health outcomes for persons served by these programs. (Time: 38 min)
Income & Rent Calculation – in 25 Minutes!
This presentation provided a targeted review of the importance of obtaining information regarding client household composition and characteristics, the basics on income types and frequency of income received, overview of income inclusions and exclusions, allowances, and deductions. The presentation included two illustrative "Whose Income Do You Include?" examples and a completed rent calculation example. (Time: 28 min)
Understanding Indirect Costs
This presentation focused on the concepts of direct and indirect costs as a fundamental element in understanding the management of Federal funds. The speaker explained how to identify direct and indirect costs through the examination of specific examples. Other specific topics included facility and administrative costs, time sheets, and approved methods for allocating indirect costs. (Time: 22 min)
Targeted Discussion: Permanent Housing Placement (PHP)
This presentation demonstrated how Permanent Housing Placement (PHP) is a good tool to help HOPWA clients secure stable housing. The speakers provided an overview of how to appropriately use PHP in a HOPWA program, including eligible costs, reporting and tracking, and how PHP interacts with other programs. Specific topics included some of the limitations around using PHP to pay for security deposits, utility deposits, and first month's rent. (Time: 16 min)
Client Termination as a Last Resort
This presentation reviewed that client termination from the HOPWA program should only be considered in the most severe cases, as a last resort. During this presentation, the audience heard directly from Office of HIV/AIDS Housing staff about what constitutes cause for termination, client due process, and best practices for eviction prevention. Specific topics included the "TBRA Time Limit" myth and a refresher of HOPWA regulation guidance on required termination procedures. (Time: 32 min)
Effective Approaches to Monitoring
This presentation looked at oversight and monitoring as a fundamental component of integrated program management of the HOPWA program. The presentation provided a comprehensive review on monitoring requirements and considered the importance of communication and collaborative relationships between grantees and project sponsors through the development of grantee and project sponsor agreements. Specific topics included oversight and monitoring terminology, an overview of grant and client-level basic monitoring elements, as well as HOPWA activity-specific monitoring hot spots. (Time: 1 hour 22 min)
Core Principles of Financial Management
This presentation focused on a key component of excellent HOPWA program management: good financial management. Financial management is not just for a CEO or CFO to worry about; good financial management involves staff from across an organization, including front line staff. The goals of this presentation were to communicate clear guidelines for sound financial management, increase understanding about direct and indirect costs, define common terms, and provoke critical thinking about the financial aspect of program management. Specific topics included basic cost principles, the idea of a "paper trail" that extends down to client files, grant-based accounting, financial and client file documentation, and documenting personnel time. (Time: 1 hour 4 min)
HIV Housing Care Continuum
This presentation showed that more than ever before, HOPWA grantees and project sponsors are using client health outcome data to inform program design, community planning, and advocacy efforts. Presenters explained how communities can create HIV housing care continuum or cascade models to demonstrate the proportion of HOPWA-assisted clients that are engaged at each stage of HIV care and how the models can be used to identify successes and gaps in care and, ultimately, improve client health outcomes. Specific topics included local examples from New York City and Fort Lauderdale as well as the multiple decision points, partnerships, and steps required to successfully develop and utilize an HIV housing care continuum. (Time: 1 hour 4 min)
Policies & Procedures: Promoting Program Excellence
This presentation looked at how grantees and project sponsors should use sound policies and procedures to ground their HOPWA program activities. The speakers demonstrated the need for having clear, written guidance and standards to promote consistent practice, provide clients and providers with articulated rights and responsibilities, help prevent the erosion of program capacity through staff turnover, record institutional knowledge and practice, and provide the foundation for grantee oversight (and project sponsor self-monitoring). Specific topics included review of specific areas that benefit from having written policies and procedures and how to develop and use good policies and procedures effectively. (Time: 1 hour 12 min)
Assessing Community Need – Resource ID
This presentation demonstrated that Resource Identification (Resource ID) is a HOPWA eligible activity that can be flexibly used for a wide range of program activities, including identification and development of housing resources, HOPWA training, HMIS system funding, and research and planning efforts to assess community needs for HIV housing and supportive services. Specific topics included demystifying Resource ID, addressing ideas and best practices for HIV/AIDS housing needs assessments, using quantitative and qualitative data to determine the community's unmet need, and HOPWA housing priorities for improved community planning. (Time: 1 hour 3 min)
Spotlight on STRMU
This presentation provided a comprehensive review of all things Short-Term Rent, Mortgage, and Utility (STRMU) assistance, including eligibility determination, review of current housing status, determination and documentation of evidence of need, eligible and ineligible uses of funds, individual service plan requirements, and lead-based paint. Specific topics included methods for counting the eligible STRMU period, methods for tracking the 21-week limit on assistance, and implementing capped payments. (Time: 1 hour 2 min)
Housing-Based Case Management & Supportive Services
Given the connection between psychosocial and biomedical outcomes, housing needs must be addressed—and re-assessed—regularly for any organization charged with meeting the needs of persons living with HIV/AIDS. Creative and consistent housing-based case management is crucial to ensure the housing stability of HOPWA clients. Specific topics covered in this presentation included an exploration of the core principles of housing-based case management, strategies for using HOPWA supportive services to enhance case management practices, and an overview of low-barrier practices and service models: trauma-informed care, motivational interviewing, harm reduction, and housing first. (Time: 1 hour)
HOPWA Rental Assistance: Building Programs That Work!
This presentation emphasized that HOPWA rental assistance is more than a voucher. Speakers asked HOPWA rental assistance programs to consider community need, the target population, and program philosophy in order to create a deliberate design for rental assistance programs, including tenant-based rental assistance, master leasing, and facility-based housing. Specific topics included a review of HUD's rules and requirements, tips on program operations, and key policies and procedures to help guarantee positive housing outcomes. (Time: 1 hour)